Interviews: Wang, Potter, and More

“In my undergraduate years, I watched three films almost every day,” Wang Bing, director most recently of the Golden Leopard-winning Mrs. Fang, tells Zoe Meng Jiang. “I’m from the same generation as the Sixth Generation filmmakers like Wang Xiaoshuai and Jia Zhangke, but I went to Beijing Film Academy after them, and took on a completely different trajectory. I had the chance to study with Zhou Chuanji (1925–2017) in Beijing. He was an excellent professor. During the Cultural Revolution, he secretly translated all the major Western film theories into Chinese. He traveled around the world in the 1980s and brought back thousands of video cassettes. In his classes I watched the films of Tarkovsky, Antonioni, and Bergman. It was Tarkovsky’s films that made me understand what cinema really is. But the influence of Bergman didn’t last very long. I also loved Pasolini. I think all filmmakers in our time owe something to Pasolini.”

Also in the Brooklyn Rail,Andy Ditzier and Gregory Zinman interview Ben Van Meter, who “began making films and light shows in the mid-1960s in San Francisco and soon became a leading figure in Bay Area underground filmmaking. . . . Van Meter’s films were unavailable for many years, but their ongoing restoration by the Academy Film Archive and their inclusion in the de Young Museum’s 2017 exhibition, The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll, has gained them a new audience.”

John Landis’s “playfulness with genre conventions reaches a delirious creative peak in Innocent Blood [1992], a truly bizarre and inventive hybrid of vampire movie, gangster film, and love story presented as broad comedy,” writes Jim Hemphill, who asks Landis about it for Filmmaker: “When people asked me, ‘What are you doing?’ I would say, ‘Well, I’m making a Hammer film as if it was directed by Scorsese.’”

“The feminist movement is one of the most vibrant, extraordinary political movements of the 20th century, and now there’s a younger generation who’s taken it up again with great joy and pleasure, and that’s wonderful to see,” Sally Potter tells Guy Lodge in the Observer. “But I object to the way it’s used as a prefix to my work, to ghettoize it, often as part of a criticism rather than an appreciation.”

“Is it true you never watch your old films?” Lanre Bakare asks John Carpenter for the Guardian, who replies, “Oh God, no. Don’t ever make me do that. I don’t want to see them again. I see the mistakes. That’s all I can see. It’d be torture. Are you kidding? I don’t want anything to do with them after I’m done.”

It’s “such a big subject, you know,” says Agnès Varda, “the reason for the selfie, what it means for the people. So you could do that in your next documentary, my dear JR.” JR: “Not without you.” Lauren Du Graf talks with them about Faces Places for Reverse Shot.

“Nearly fifty years after the release of Get Carter, [Mike] Hodges is publishing three new crime noir novellas, Bait,Grist, and Security, through crowd-funding publishers Unbound.Port caught up with him to discuss the uncertainties of publishing, classic scripts he wishes he had written and why you should never fuck with the punters.”

Gwyneth Paltrow catches up with her old friend Penélope Cruz for Interview.

“There is nothing interesting about getting older, it's horrible,” Judi Dench tells Rüdiger Sturm at The Talks. “In fact, I might start going back the other way.”

“Are we all doomed?” the New Statesman asks John Waters: “Oh, absolutely not. The Resurrection’s gonna happen. It’ll be crowded, but you know, it’ll be interesting.”

Hopefully, you’ll have seen Hillary Weston’s conversation here in Current with Alexandre O. Philippe about his documentary 78/52 which focuses on the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). The TIFF Review talks with him as well.

“Hollywood has James Jean on speed-dial these days,” writes Jeff Hamada at the top of his interview for Booooooom. “The Los Angeles-based artist has created film posters for three of this year’s biggest films—mother!,The Shape of Water, and most recently Blade Runner 2049.

Forrest Gump (1944) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) come up in Emma Robertson’s conversation with screenwriter Eric Roth for The Talks.

“The renowned editor Jill Bilcock infused the director Baz Luhrmann’s first three films—Strictly Ballroom,Romeo + Juliet, and Moulin Rouge (aka the red curtain trilogy)—with a famously frenetic, flashy, in-your-face style,” writes Luke Buckmaster, introducing his interview for the Guardian. “The term she and the glitzy auteur coined to describe their approach is unlikely to be added to textbooks any time soon: they call it ‘frame fucking.’”

Thor Joachim Haga chats with composer Danny Elfman for Montages: “I was very happy that at the same time as I was doing this huge, dense score for Justice League, I was doing this very minimal micro-score for Gus van Sant in a tiny movie of his. It’s the contrast that makes me happy.”

With The Killing of a Sacred Deer hitting theaters next week, Vulture’s Jada Yuan talks with Yorgos Lanthimos and Colin Farrell: “They’re a funny pair, this laconic bear of a Greek auteur and Farrell, all angles and sinew and loquaciousness.”

“Luca Guadagnino was so enamored with Jonathan Demme’s work that his university thesis was about the American director’s filmography up to 1993,” notes Laura Allsop who gets the director talking about Demme’s Beloved (1998): “It came and went in the blink of an eye, and later, other films about the tragedy of enslavement in North America would get more praise. But none of these could even remotely compare to the achievement and harrowing depths of this film.”

For the Notebook, Ramin S. Khanjani talks with Shirin Neshat about Looking for Oum Kulthum, which premiered in this year’s edition of Venice Days.

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